Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Sustainable Tourism

Tourism is vital to the Cairngorms National Park. It accounts for 30% of the economy (GVA) and 43% of employment. Visitors have been flocking here for centuries to appreciate the outstanding landscapes, wildlife and huge range of activities.

Loch Morlich beach, busy on a summers dayWe currently have an estimated 1.87 million/ visitors annually. A third of those visitors, and two thirds of international visitors, say that National Park status is an important influence in their decision to visit. However, it’s crucial that visitors don’t undermine the very things that attract them in the first place – landscape, wildlife, culture, tranquillity.

170406TourismActionPlanCoverTourism: Action + Change – Tourism Action Plan For The Cairngorms National Park 2017-22

This Action Plan has been developed by the Cairngorms Tourism Partnership which brings together the key businesses and agencies involved in tourism. The Plan sets out the priority actions over the next 5 years to deliver sustainable tourism in the Cairngorms National Park.


LochKinordviewpointSquareSustainable Tourism

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas is a practical management tool that enables national Parks and other protected areas to develop tourism sustainably based on 5 principles:

  1. giving priority to protection;
  2. contributing to sustainable development;
  3. engaging all stakeholders;
  4. planning sustainable tourism effectively;
  5. pursuing continues improvement.

In 2005, just two years after designation as a National Park, the Cairngorms became the first National Park in the UK to be awarded the Charter on the basis of our first 5 year strategy & action plan for tourism. In 2011 and again in 2017 we were re-assessed on the basis of what had been delivered over the previous five years, as well as our strategy & action plans for the following 5 years. On both occasions we passed with flying colours. You can find the 2017 verifier’s evaluation report here.

Cairngorms Visitor survey infographicCairngorms Visitor Survey 2019/20

Every five years, the Cairngorms National Park Authority carries out a year-long visitor survey to help understand what motivates people to visit the area, how they get here, what they do and what they like and don’t like.

The latest survey got under way in May this year and the final report is expected to be available in July 2020.

In 2014, the Cairngorms National Park Authority commissioned its third, year-long visitor survey and the results are available.

We’ve produced a summary infographic (PDF – 1.8MB) showing some of the key facts and figures as well as a full report presentation with more details and analysis.

More information

If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like to have access to the full datasets, please contact Heather Trench on 01479 870545.

Economic Impacts of Tourism in the National Park

There were 1.9 million Tourism Visits to the National Park in 2018. Data like this and much more can be found in a study we have commissioned which looks at the tourism trends for the National Park to the end of 2018. A summary of the data (PDF | 468KB) is available and if you would like the full report please contact Heather Trench on 01479 870545.

Delivering the National Tourism Strategy

In 2012, Tourism Scotland 2020 – A Strategy for Leadership & Growth was launched by the Scottish Tourism Alliance. Led by industry and supported by the public sector, the strategy provides a common agenda for the industry and supporting organisations.

Cairngorms National Park: 2020 – Delivering the National Tourism Strategy (PDF – 853KB) puts our work on tourism in the context of the national strategy.

Making the most of the Park for your tourism business - SIGN UP FOR UPDATES

Sign up to the Make It Yours ebulletin to receive more information, advice, and updates on tourism and marketing in the National Park, and how to make the most of the National Park for your business.
(We will only use your details to keep you up-to-date with Make It Yours and we will not share your information with any other organisation).